Frost Your Layered Cakes Like A Pro with These Insider Tips

Frosting a cake at CHEFScatalog.com

Frosting Cakes | CHEFS MixLooking through magazines, it can be easy to feel envious of the perfectly frosted cakes that line the pages. Every peaked curl of the frosting and smooth edge creates a sweet confection that looks just about as good as it tastes. If you have a big event coming up like a graduation, birthday or wedding, you’ll want to top off your party with the perfect layer cake—and one that you’re proud to show off to your guests. Here’s how to get a flawlessly frosted cake with just a few simple steps:

Cake on Cooling rack | CHEFS Mix

Let your creation cool

Once you pull that sweet treat out of the oven (you can tell if it’s done by sticking a toothpick in the middle and having it come out clean), it’s important to give it time to cool. If you start frosting it too soon, the frosting could start melting off, leaving a mess. Cool off the cakes by setting each layer on a wire cooling rack away from drafts.

Create a flat surface

Cake Knife for Flat Top | CHEFS MixIf you’re piling layers of cake on top of one another, you’ll want to shave off the top of the domes with a large serrated knife to create smooth, flat surfaces. A cake knife with a serrated edge prevents the cake from tearing – gently slice back and forth using a sawing motion for the best results. If left with uneven layers, your cake may end up looking like the end of a game of Jenga instead. This puffed top can be prevented by gently tapping on the batter before it goes in the oven to let all of the air bubbles escape.

Set your confection on a cake platter

Set your cake on a stand before starting the icing process. You’ll want a flat and sturdy surface to help it turn out excellently.

Frosting the Cake | CHEFS Mix

Try this Cake Stand with Nonslip Pad to decorate your confection like a pro. The cast-iron base and sturdy aluminum turntable top allows you to revolve the cake as you ice it, giving you easy access to all sides for precise and seamless icing.

Help your cake stick

You don’t want your cake moving around on the cake platter. Keep it in one place by lining the dish with strips of parchment paper. To secure it even further, apply a small dab of frosting in the middle of the stand to act as glue for the bottom layer of the cake.

Say goodbye to crumbs

Before you begin icing, take a minute to brush away any crumbs that may be sitting on top of your cake. Foregoing this step can make applying frosting a bit more difficult and messy.

Frost away

Now here comes the best part – decorating! Start off the process by adding about 1 to 1-1/2 cups of frosting to the first layer using either a butter knife or an offset spatula. It’s okay to be generous with the amount of frosting you use – you can always scrape the excess off, but with too little frosting, you risk pulling the cake apart. When spreading your frosting, keep these tips in mind:

  • Start in the center of the cake and work your way out
  • Spread the frosting up to the edge of the cake, not over
  • If the frosting is too thick to spread, place the bowl into another bowl of warm water and stir to soften the consistency
  • If the frosting is too thin, thicken it up by adding a little powdered sugar until it’s at the perfect spreading texture
  • Always wipe the spatula clean every time you lift it from the cake for a clean-looking finish
  • Run the spatula around the cake to smooth the frosting on the edges
  • Create texture on the top of the cake by using the back of a spoon, which makes swirls and ridges for a professional-looking confection

Frosting Recipes

Classic Vanilla Buttercream FrostingButtercream Recipe | CHEFS Mix

Frosts & fills 1, 8-inch 2-layer cake or 9×13-inch cake

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 pounds (7-1/2 cups) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Up to 3/4 cup milk or heavy cream

Directions

In a mixing bowl using a hand or stand mixer with paddle attachment, add butter and beat until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, gradually add powdered sugar until thoroughly combined. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla, salt, and cream. Add remaining sugar or cream to reach desired consistency: sugar for a stiffer consistency, cream for a softer consistency.

Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add 3-cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the sugar doesn’t blow everywhere) until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium, add vanilla extract, salt, and 2-tablespoons of milk/cream, and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1-tablespoons at a time.

Variations

  • Chocolate: Sift 3/4-cup unsweetened cocoa powder with the powdered sugar. Continue as above
  • Orange: Once sugar and butter are incorporated, add 2-teaspoons orange extract and 2-teaspoons orange zest. Substitute orange juice for milk. Continue as above. (For lemon variation, use the lemon extract, zest and juice)
  • Mint: Add 2-teaspoons of mint extract, and continue as above. For extra panache, melt 4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate with 4-tablespoons of butter, stirring until smooth. After frosting, drizzle with chocolate mixture for a mint chocolate experience.
  • Peanut Butter: Substitute an equal amount of smooth peanut butter for unsalted butter. Continue as above.
  • Caramel: In a small, heavy-bottom saucepan, combine 1/3-cup butter and 1/3-cup brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once the mixture comes to a boil, add 1/3-cup butter and stir until melted and smooth. Let mixture return to a boil, and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let completely cool. Make frosting as above, and stir in caramel mixture and stir to combine. (Alternatively, use 3/4-cup of caramel ice cream topping and stir into frosting)
  • Pineapple: Add 1/2-cup of drained, crushed pineapple. Replace milk with pineapple juice.
  • Fruit, using puree: Beat butter as above, and add 1/2-cup of fruit puree. Continue as above. If using fruit with seeds, you may want to strain the puree before adding to the frosting.
  • Fruit, using jam: Beat butter as above, and add in 1/2-cup seedless jam. Continue as above. To enhance the color, add a few drops of food coloring.

7-minute Icing7-minute Icing Recipe | CHEFS Mix

Frosts 1, 8-inch 2-layer cake.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Pour a about 1/2-inch of water into the bottom of sauce pan or double boiler and bring to a boil over medium heat. Make sure that when the top portion of the double boiler is added that the water will not touch the bottom of the bowl.

In a large heatproof bowl, off the heat, combine sugar, cream of tartar, salt, water, and egg whites. Using a hand mixer beat at medium speed for 1 minute. Place over the saucepan of boiling water. Using the hand mixer beat on high speed for 7 minutes. Remove from heat, and fold in vanilla.

Whipped Cream FrostingWhipped Cream Frosting Recipe | CHEFS Mix

Frosts 1, 8-inch 2-layer cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons powdered sugar

Directions

Place metal mixing bowl and wire whisk or whisk attachment in freezer for 30 minutes before making whipped cream.

Combine heavy cream, vanilla and powdered sugar into cold bowl. Using wire whisk or mixer, beat cream to stiff peaks. Frost and serve cake immediately. If not using immediately, cover and store in refrigerator separate from cake. After using as frosting, it is best to keep left over cake or pastry refrigerated.

Variations

Berry or Apricot: Beat cream to soft peaks. Add 1/3-cup chilled fruit puree or seedless jam and continue to whip to stiff peaks.

Lemon: Beat cream to soft peaks. Add in 1/2-cup chilled lemon curd and continue to whip to stiff peaks

Chocolate: After pulling bowl out of the freezer, add vanilla, 3-tablespoons powdered sugar, 1/4-cup powdered sugar, and 2- to 3-tablespoons of cream. Stir to create a thick paste. Add remaining cream and stir to combine. Whip to stiff peaks.

Stabilizing Whipped Cream

Whipped cream alone doesn’t last very long. After a short time whipped cream will fall and may become watery—not yummy, especially on a cake. The easiest way to prevent that from happening is to stabilize the cream. There are several methods: from gelatin, which may be an issue for vegetarians and those who keep kosher, to marshmallows. Try one of these methods to stabilize your whipped cream to make it suitable for frosting:

  • Add 2-teaspoons of nonfat dry milk powder for every cup of heavy cream before whipping.
  • Sift 1-teaspoon cornstarch into powdered sugar for every cup of heavy cream used.
  • Sprinkle 1-teaspoon of unflavored powdered gelatin into 2-tablespoons of cold water and stir to combine. Let mixture set for 5 minutes. Heat in microwave 10 to 15 seconds until gelatin is completely dissolved. Let cool to room temperature. Whip cream to soft peaks and pour gelatin mixture into whipped cream in a thin stream, whipping continuously. Continue to whip to desired peaks.
  • Whip heavy cream to desired peaks. Sprinkle 1-teaspoon of agar agar (vegetable gelatin) for every cup of cream used, while continuing to whip. Continue to whip to desired peaks.
  • Whip heavy cream to soft peaks. Melt 1 regular marshmallow for every cup of cream used (about 5 seconds in the microwave). Add melted marshmallow to cream and continue to whip to stiff peaks.
  • Add 2-tablespoons of instant dry pudding (in whatever flavor desired—flavor will be muted, but still present) to heavy cream before whipping.
  • Add 1/2-cup mascarpone cheese to heavy cream before whipping. Whip to desired peaks.

Whipped Cream Cheese FrostingWhipped Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe | CHEFS Mix

Frosts 1, 8-inch 2-layer cake

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold

Directions

Place mixing bowl and whisk attachment in freezer for 30 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth. Add heavy cream and whip to stiff peaks.

Keep chilled.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe | CHEFS Mix

Frosts 1, 8-inch 2-layer cake

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 pound (3-3/4 cups) powdered sugar

Directions

Sift powdered sugar, breaking up and clumps. In a mixing bowl, using a hand or stand mixer, cream together cream cheese and butter, until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and stir to combine. Gradually add powdered sugar, mixing continuously on low speed until thoroughly combined.

More about cakes:

Your Turn: What are some of your best frosting secrets when it comes to layer cakes? Share your thoughts with us!

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